Strong start helps LHS girls secure double-digit win over Shawnee Mission East
photo by: Chris Duderstadt
Lawrence High senior Chisom Ajekwu had the Lions rolling in the first quarter of the Lions’ 49-34 win over Shawnee Mission East on Tuesday at LHS.
The 6-foot-3 center scored four straight buckets to help Lawrence High close the opening quarter on a 15-0 run, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Lions the rest of the way.
Lawrence (8-4) became careless with the basketball at times by trying to force it inside to Ajekwu, opening the door for the Lancers (9-5) to chip away at the 19-7 deficit they faced at the end of the first quarter. To further compound matters, Ajekwu went to the bench with her third foul with 1:34 to go in the first half.
East junior Camryn Gossick scored the first basket of the second half to cut the Lions’ lead to 24-22, but SM East was never able to surge in front thanks to Ajekwu’s supporting cast of fellow seniors.
Sammy Williams went on a personal 6-0 run in the third quarter, and Hannah Stewart opened the fourth with 5 straight points to help push the Lions’ advantage back to double digits.
“We can’t just rely on Chisom for offense,” Williams said. “She can’t be our only way. So when she can’t score, or even when she can score, all of us need to step up and take some of that pressure off of her.”
Another key factor in the Lions’ keeping the Lancers at bay was their effort on the defensive end. Lawrence sophomore Ozi Ajekwu took a page out of her sister’s book with two blocks in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half to spark the Lions.
“She was a big spark plug tonight for us for sure with her minutes in there,” said Stewart of Ozi Ajekwu. “How many blocks did she have? She does a really nice job of staying straight up and making sure she’s staying fundamentally sound on defense.”
Chisom Ajekwu bookended her big night with 10 more points in the fourth quarter to put the Lancers away. The elder Ajekwu poured in a game-high 24 points.
The Lions will try to keep rolling at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Olathe North (No. 9 in 6A).
“The have an entirely brand new team and program and a bunch of new kids that moved in there,” LHS coach Jeff Dickson said. “We’ve got to be able to match up with probably one of the most athletic teams that the league has to offer this season.”
Lawrence 19 5 8 17 — 49
SM East 7 13 4 10 — 34
Hannah Stewart 3-5 1-3 8, Leslie Ostronic 0-3 1-2 1, Sammy Williams 4-9 0-0 8, Sophie DeWitt 2-6 0-0 5, Evann Seratte 0-1 0-0 0, Ozi Ajekwu 1-2 0-0 2, Chisom Ajekwu 12-18 0-5 24, Ella Stewart 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 22-44 3-12 49.
SM East (34)
Jordan Yowell 2-11 0-2 5, Emma Eberhart 0-3 0-0 0, Kathleen Stanley 4-10 3-3 13, Sarah Bingham 0-4 0-0 0, Camryn Gossick 4-12 4-7 13, Reese Althouse 1-4 0-0 3. Totals: 11-44 7-12 34.
3-point goals: Lawrence 2-8 (Hannah Stewart 1, Sophie DeWitt 1); SM East 5-21 (Kathleen Stanley 2, Jordan Yowell 1, Reese Althouse 1, Camryn Gossick 1). Turnovers: Lawrence 13, SM East 10. Fouled out: None.